I missed the first edition of Leo Levine’s Ford: The Dust and the Glory, A Racing History, though not by very much. I bought my second-printing copy in the summer of 1969 in a book store in Boston while we, fresh out of our respective colleges, were on our way home from honeymooning on Canada’s Gaspe Peninsula, which was about as exotic and foreign-speaking of a destination as we could afford.
The book spans 630 pages, includes photos and lists and seemingly every detail of Ford racing history from Henry’s first race — he beat Alexander Winton, at the time America’s leading car-builder, and in so doing earned enough backing to start his own car company — through the 1967 season — when Andretti won at Daytona, Foyt won at Indy, and then Foyt and Gurney won at Le Mans.
Ford called it Total Performance. It was more like Total Domination.
Next thing I knew Dan Gurney went around me on the outside, going about twenty miles an hour faster.”
– Leo Levine
As for Levine, he had been racing in Europe until one day, as he reports on the jacket cover of Dust and Glory, while racing around the Nuburgring in Germany,“I thought I really had it hung out in this particular corner, and next thing I knew Dan Gurney went around me on the outside, going about twenty miles an hour faster than me. It didn’t take a genius to get the message.”
Levine returned to the U.S., became the auto racing writer for the New York Herald-Tribune, and later spent 20 years managing public relations for Mercedes-Benz in North America. After he retired, Levine wrote a second volume of Dust and Glory, this one totaling 413 pages and covering the 1968 through 2000 seasons.
I’ve used both volumes for everything from just reading to being serious research sources for my own writing. Dust and Glory and Volume 2 consume 3 1/2 inches of bookshelf space at my house, where they are parked in a place of honor alongside Michael Cannell’s The Limit, Ted West’s Closing Speed, Danny Gerber’s Out of Control and A Second Life, and Brock Yates’ Sunday Driver.
But now you can have both volumes of Dust and Glory, not on a bookshelf but in your Amazon Kindle, and for only $7.99 (not each, that’s $7.99 for the complete two-book set).
You’ll be able to sit back and read not only about Ford’s racing history, but about those against whom Ford drivers raced, here in the United States and elsewhere around the world. In many ways, Ford’s racing history is motorsports’ racing history, a century of competition from Indy to the Formula One, from Daytona to the drag strip.
However, one thing you won’t get is something my copies have. Back in 1992, I knew Leo was coming to the AutoWeek magazine offices the next day to visit his long-time friend and our publisher, Leon Mandel. Since that visit, my copies have included not only words and pictures about Ford racing, but Leo Levine’s autographs.